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'Horsing' Around At Neskowin and N. Oregon Coast Rocky Surprises

Published 05/24/21 at 5:05 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

'Horsing' Around At Neskowin and N. Oregon Coast Rocky Surprises

(Neskowin, Oregon) – Where the central Oregon coast abruptly becomes the north coast, at the southern tip of Tillamook County, Neskowin is a tiny village big on visual and experiential treats.

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There's little going on in Neskowin – and that's a lot to many folks. No big events, festivals. One or two eateries, a grocery store (most years), and then just beach. Pretty much nothing but beach.

It's all really all that matters to some, like Portland musician René Ormae-Jarmer.

“Neskowin seems like it's the closest to drive to from PDX,” she said. “The creek runs right into the ocean and the beach is very clean. Neskowin is a little less known than Cannon or Lincoln City, so it never seems crazy crowded. Beautiful place to slow your life down.”

Indeed, those beaches have an unusual quality at times, and certainly some unusual features. At the top of that list is the ghost forest, those stumps of mystery some 2,000 years old. They sit at the tideline, just slightly beyond curious Proposal Rock, being one of the very few ghost forests visible just about year-round. Though they are known for getting sucked up by rising sand levels during summer.

At first they look like old, ragged pilings constructed by Man. Upon closer inspection, they are indeed natural features, the leftovers of a stand of Sikta spruce that were enveloped by sand over decades and then ironically preserved by the very sand that killed them. No, the constant talk about them being created by a sudden earthquake is not true. See Explanations of Neskowin Ghost Forest Wrong, Say Oregon Coast Geologists.

There's more to this unusually calming stretch of north Oregon coast as well.

“I love how quiet the beach is usually and that you can go right up the highway to Pacific City and do a horse ride rental,” Ormae-Jarmer said. “Always good food at the Hawk Creek Cafe.”

Neskowin's close proximity to the attractions and amenities of Pacific City is also helpful. And then there's those horse rides.

Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides is the mainstay on this part of the Oregon coast for equestrian fun.

They provide a variety of horseback rides on the beach, but the most common one is the one-hour stint on a beautiful beast, wandering the tideline of Pacific City. You start out inside town and then make your way from about Cape Kiwanda down to Bob Straub State Park. You then return along a slightly different route. That horseback ride will set you back $95, and there are longer treks for more experienced riders. https://beach-rides.com/ (541) 418-2313.

Farther north into Neskowin, where few bother to tread, the hidden accesses there provide some of the more intriguing sands of the entire coastlines. They're oddly large, coarse grains that are almost black at times; it feels weird to walk on and there's a vastly different vibe to it than other beaches.

The black sands come from the massive headland here: Cascade Head. Unbeknownst to many, this is an old volcano, one that used to tower perhaps some two thousand feet or more. But it was all underwater, millions and millions of years ago. Extinct Volcano of Oregon Coast: Cascade Head's Fiery Surprise

Proposal Rock itself is an orphaned chunk of that once-massive cone. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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